Before the full Online News Association conference kicked off in Atlanta, I was on a panel discussion about lessons from local reporting online during an event Google held for members of the media.
I was joined by Joaquin Alvarado from the Center for Investigative Reporting, Thomas Wheatley from Atlanta’s Creative Loafing and Bryan Leavoy from WSB-TV and the moderator Daniel Sieberg from Google.
The discussion was a good one, and I tried to hit home 5 points during our discussion:
- Look for new ways to meet your reporting goals: I preceded my Innovative Storytelling session at ONA by alluding to the idea that smaller local media are challenging what it means to be a news organization.
- Don’t be afraid of action: By disclosing and becoming more responsible for action, news organizations can do better by their communities. Transparency, not objectivity. We need to look like, act like and represent our community, while also challenging it. What community are we meant to reflect? Find that and then know their words and needs and find ways to make them better.
- The niche is the norm: As distribution is specialized (social media outlets, not newspaper deliverymen), our content is getting more and more focused. Ultimately the online world has made us better at connecting in the offline world and media, as the great convener, should play a role
- Engagement means publishing is the middle of the pipeline, not the end. This is something I’ve written about before.
- Disruption in our industry is an opportunity to remember our core mission: What do we aim to do and why do we do it? We should think deeply about the formats and goals we have.